Usually a movie that creates a lot of hoopla and fan fare loses my attention quite early on. Jodhaa Akbar was one such victim! From the past 2 years or more, the movie was in news throughout… First for the star-cast and then for the unusual story and elaborate sets, and some times even for wrong reasons…About the director, of course, after Lagaan and Swades, junta had tremendous expectations from the highly talented director, Ashutosh Gowariker. He had been lucky twice… It remained to be seen, if he could swish the magic wand again!
So, while the industry and Ash-Hrithik fans were waiting with baited breath for Jodhaa-Akbar to release, I was quietly sipping tea in a corner of Hong Kong, totally uninterested in the entire conundrum!
And then, it was time to pack and head for India… While in India, dad calls up one afternoon (I was busy taking nap) and announces, all of us are going for Jodhaa Akbar today evening. You guys be ready. I am yawning and dreading getting out of the all-welcoming bed, when my little sis jolts me from my slumber and there I am, all set to watch JA! Now, here I would like to add that I wasn’t particularly interested in watching this particular movie, but a movie with family is always welcome… coz then its about an outing with them, more than the movie per se!
So, we all arrive at the hall and take our seats.
And the show begins!
What followed for the next 3 and a half hour was like a dream! The director had the narrative so strong, that it literally took you over to the Mughal era…!! Most of the sets were spell-bounding. Let us first talk about the positives of the movie – A true-blue royal looking Hrithik… it showed that he had worked a lot on his costumes, his hair style and his conduct to match that of the Mughal emporer… And even though he looked the part most of the times, there were times when he walked and you could see that it was hrithik walking and not Jalaluddin Mohammed Akbar, the Great Emperor of India. You could see the difference. But, I must still give due credit to hrithik for having pulled the character off to the best of his abilities! Undoubtedly, his best performance ever! Even though Prithviraj’s stupendous performance as the great emporer remains etched in our minds, Hrithik’s was ok!
Unfortunately for Ashutosh, comparisons with the classic Mughal-e-azam are inevitable, primarily because both the movies tried to take us back to the Mughal era. I must add here, that though the sets of JA were grand and elaborate… the grandeur of Mughal-e-azam was par excellence… and Ashutosh’s version simply paled in comparison to the grandeur of the former.
The costumes were very elaborately worked upon! Hrithik’s costumes were far more royal than Aishwarya, or shall we say, the regalia suited him to the hilt! Aishwarya looked Angelic, just like her role demanded.
The songs are all very good to listen to. In the otherwise impeccable song collection by AR Rehman, the only song that disappointed me was “Khwaja mere khwaja”. The disappointment was not because of the music, or the tune or the surreal feel, it had all of that. What it lacked was the soofiyana feel of the bygone era! It seemed and felt way too modern, and brought you back to the 21st century with a jolt! The transition was unwanted and reduced the flavor built by the rest of the movie! A good discovery is Javed Ali, who sang “Jashan-e-bahara”. His voice does magic with the ethereal feel of the song!
Editing could have been done better! There are some war scenes that could have easily been cut by at least half. I never sleep in movie halls, and I slept in this one, during watching the war scenes, when watching the movie for the second time in the theatre!
Ash-Hrithik chemistry in the movie deserves a special mention. They speak with their eyes, and the love that blossoms between them is so pure and natural. The romance between the couple is definitely one of the best ever shown in Indian cinema.
To conclude, Ashutosh and team deserve applause for such a good effort!!